Morning notes: Tanaka-mania, Part II
February, 18, 2014
By Wallace Matthews | ESPNNewYork.com
TAMPA, Fla. -- Masahiro Tanaka's second bullpen session for the Yankees was a lot different from his first. Instead of being relegated to the remote canopy on the back field, Tanaka -- alongside CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda -- threw 35 pitches in the easily accessible bullpen just off the main field at George M. Steinbrenner Field. There were no lines drawn in the sand; both media and public were permitted to gawk at Tanaka from behind the fence or from a walkway that overlooks the pen and affords a terrific vantage point for amateur and professional photogs.
Tanaka threw to John Ryan (don't call him J.R.) Murphy, and afterward he, Murphy, Joe Girardi and an interpreter gathered on the mound for a chit chat. Tanaka will likely be available when the clubhouse reopens Tuesday afternoon to give us his impression of the workout, but he seemed to be throwing smooth and easy, and most importantly, hard.
Jeet Week begins: Wednesday is the big day, when Derek Jeter addresses what is sure to be a packed media pavilion on the subject of his impending retirement and his final season in pinstripes. The news conference will be carried live on the YES Network beginning at 11:30 a.m.
Nova goes live: Ivan Nova threw a live batting practice session Tuesday morning to some of the nonroster catchers at the same time Tanaka was throwing his bullpen, so don't ask me how he did. I would assume OK.
No way, Jorge: The other day I tweeted a photo of bullpen catcher Roman Rodriguez wearing equipment with the No. 20 on it, and rather tongue-in-cheekily wrote that the Yankees had given away Jorge Posada's shin guards. That turns out not to be the case. What Rodriguez was wearing were pads designed to be worn over the calves to make squatting more comfortable. They were made specifically for Posada, but he never wore them because he found he didn't need them. So technically, they are not and never were equipment belonging to Posada. Rodriguez, incidentally, caught Michael Pineda's bullpen session on Monday and reports the 6-foot-7 righty threw all his pitches, including breaking balls, threw hard and seems healthy.
Ryan's Hope: Brendan Ryan is the latest regular to check in early -- the rest are due to report for physicals tomorrow morning -- and spoke at length in the clubhouse about the burden of (possibly) replacing Jeter at shortstop. Andrew Marchand will have the details later on.
Cervelli dropping: In the Yankees' spring Catcher's Drop Counter, that is. Virtually overnight, Cervelli fell from a seven-way tie for first place all the way to last, having dropped three of 95 pitches thrown to him so far. Brian McCann, formerly last, vaulted into a second-place tie with Gary Sanchez, who has dropped two. Austin Romine, John Ryan Murphy, Jose Gil, Peter O'Brien and Francisco Arcia remain the leaders, having yet to drop a pitch. We'll keep you posted.
Don't say that! Tuesday is media training day for the pitchers, a day on which they are shown a video that teaches them skillful ways of avoiding answering tough questions or saying anything that can be used in a headline.